Mmmmmm... beer. As Homer put it: “Ah, good ol’ trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die.” Also as Homer put it: “Homer no function beer well without.” The weather's getting warmer here in Chicago, the sun is (mostly) shining, and I'm betting that your mouth is salivating right at this moment for a crisp, hoppy, deliciously cold beer.
My friends and I have a booze-themed potluck/supper club, and a few weeks ago it was beer night. The only parameters were that we had to cook with beer and bring beer to drink. Folks, let me tell you, that's all you need for a top-notch beerapalooza (plus a few creative buddies). People made: beer-braised sausages and cheddar; beer-and-cheese soup with popcorn and scallions; beer pancakes with a whiskey syrup; and lambic-raspberry cupcakes. I made beer-marinated flank steak from a Chopping Block recipe (though I doctored it a smidge), and fried up some tortillas for tacos. After all the beer cooking, we did the beer eating and the beer drinking. It was lovely.
While we're talking beer, you should know that the Chopping Block is offering a Beer 101 class next Wednesday at the Merchandise Mart, featuring Wesley Phillips, a certified "Cicerone," AKA beer sommelier. I'll be working the class, so sign up and have a few brewskis with us! If you ever wanted to learn a little beer history, and find out more about the major beer styles, then you'll love this.
Do try these tacos, and maybe garnish them with cilantro, a cabbage-lime slaw, hot sauce, sour cream. The beauty of this recipe is that you'll have three leftover Matildas from the four-pack they come in, so you'll have a built-in beerapalooza of your own.
This serves 4–6. I doubled it.
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. orange juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, sliced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. smoky paprika
2 c. Goose Island Matilda Belgian pale ale
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. flank steak
corn tortillas, for frying
Mix the citrus juices, garlic, onion, spices, and beer in a shallow dish or sealable bag. Add the meat to the marinade and allow the flavors to blend for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Preheat a grill pan to medium heat.
Remove the steak and onions from the marinade; set the onions aside. Grill the steak on the first side until caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until done to your liking. An internal temperature of 125 is ideal for medium rare.
Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board with a juice groove, and then cut into thin slices against the grain.
While the steak rests, grill the onions until they are caramelized and tender.
Turn up the heat on the grill pan, and warm some canola oil. Fry the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, until they start to bubble and brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.